Movie Review: Mockingjay Part 1

Contains spoilers!

My first tweet after I watched Mockingjay was:
And it was! I am rating it a four out of five apples. However, those apples are allocated to the superb acting of the artists because, darling, not much happened.

Let us all admit that The Hunger Games film adaptations capitalized on the action, violence and adrenaline. There was a lot of steam that was generated during the first two films that should culminate in an epic conclusion - ideally a final third film.

But the traction gained in The Hunger Games and Catching Fire was lost and, here, we find ourselves in the crux of that oft-repeated question: is it really necessary to split the final installment? Business-minded executives will definitely say Yes! since the series has a high return-of-investment so far. Creative-minded people would be more on the fence (I think), one side saying yes for a better rendering of the source material and the other side saying no when things can be condensed but managing to be comprehensive.

All these arguments aside, I still enjoyed the movie while muttering "Oh, you're going to die" every time Finnick and Prim came on (I think I annoyed people) and "Bitch, bitch, bitch" whenever President Coin uttered so much as a sigh. The movie did have more President Coin and President Snow than what was in the book. Somewhat.

The biggest takeaway was EFFIE TRINKET. Effie, dear, what are you doing in District 13? You are not supposed to be there. But I guess she was the logical choice of replacement for Cinna's prep team. After all, Elizabeth Banks' Effie's presence was as great as the Mockingjay herself.

There was a little action, the rebellion gaining momentum, the rescue of Peeta, and I am so happy they included The Hanging Tree song and the general workings of District 13 that darned cat... I guess that we're going to see the lion's share of cinematic action in part 2 next year.
Ayanami Faerudo

Waiting on Wednesday: The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. This meme spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.
The Witches of Echo Park
The Witches of Echo Park #1
Amber Benson
Expected Publication: January 6, 2015
Genre: YA Paranormal
Unbeknownst to most of humankind, a powerful network of witches thrives within the shadows of society, using their magic to keep the world in balance. But they are being eliminated—and we will all pay if their power falls…

When Elyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets—extraordinary secrets—from her.

Not only is Lyse heir to Eleanora’s Victorian estate; she is also expected to take her great-aunt’s place in the Echo Park coven of witches. But to accept her destiny means to place herself in deadly peril—for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches now fight may be their last…
I've read Amber Benson's Ghost of Albion books after a friend introduced me to the web series many years ago. Watched it, and then looked for things related to it which brought me Accursed, Witchery and Astray. 

I've seen Witches of Echo Park in some WoW posts and couldn't help but get curious... and here we are. It's about witches! Witches!
Ayanami Faerudo

Book Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas


The Perilous Sea
The Elemental Trilogy #2
Sherry Thomas
Genre: YA Fantasy
After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.
I read the first book, The Burning Sky, as the last book of 2013. I read it while I was waiting for the clock to strike twelve, ushering the new year. And I finished 2013 knowing that I read a good book, actually adding an ETA to my wrap-up post.

I dread sequels. I highly anticipate them, true, but there’s always the fear that the second book will not live up to expectations.

I probably had the biggest smile on my face when I finished The Perilous Sea today. I didn't have dinner yet and I went downstairs to fetch some victuals, giggling on occasion, smiling maniacally that I, perhaps, frightened the girl who was going into the elevator. 

I must confess that I only vaguely recall the whole, complete story of The Burning Sky (but I know that it was effing great!). I was confused when I was reading the first chapter: Huh. I know that I didn't leave The Burning Sky and Iolanthe and Titus in this state, so what's going on? The next chapter turned back to seven weeks earlier and I settled in knowing that things would unfold and everything would be revealed. 

Perhaps the alternate points-of-view and alternate times, present and what happened that led to the present, contributed to keeping from letting this book falling to the pit of sequels that curse them. Sherry Thomas made a brilliant move. 

And what a ride it was. The reasons I loved The Burning Sky have been reinforced in here and actually increased my love for this story. Adventure, romance, fantasy, drama and excitement! The book ended on the edge of a war and I can't wait to read the conclusion!

Book Haul (36)

Book Haul is a feature post which showcases some of the books that I got.

I Want It That Way
2B Trilogy #1
Ann Aguirre
Won from a giveaway. Thank you Author Rx!
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.
From NetGalley
Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours!

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg
The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #2) by Charlie N. Holmberg
Thanks to 47North!

For Kindle
Hex and the Single Witch (Vehicle City Vampires #1) by Roxanne Rhoads
The Forgotten Pharaoh by Laura DeLuca
Paranormal Pleasures II: Ten More Tales of Supernatural Seduction by Roxanne Rhoads

Won from YASH
Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell
Some Boys by Patty Blount
Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst
The Hidden Blade (Heart of Blade Duology #1) by Sherry Thomas
Of Metal and Wishes (Of Metal and Wishes #1) by Sarah Fine
Defiance (Defiance #1) by C.J. Redwine
Black Moon (The Blackmoon Trilogy #2) by Teri Harman

First batch of the YASH stash, still waiting for the others.

A huge thank you to the organizers of the YA Scavenger Hunt. I had fun... doing all the calculations and making quadruple sure that I got the right numbers. XD Also much gratitude to the authors for the books! The anticipation gets me through the week.
Ayanami Faerudo

Blog Tour: The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft {Interview + Giveaway}

Welcome to The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft (not Croft, I also did a double-take when I read the title) tour stop here at Whatever You Can Still Betray.

I'm happy to welcome the two authors who brought Lara Craft to life.
Becky Wicks and Sarah Alderson talk laughing out loud while writing and the travels that inspired their new comedy romance (with a very British twist) The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft (not Croft) 

Describe your book in five words or less. 
Funny British chick goes travelling 
Where did the idea for the book came from? Your inspiration? 

Honestly, it was supposed to be an erotica but I think Lara shaped up to be the kind of girl that wouldn’t have taken the basic 50 Shades principles too well - for example the idea of a red room would have her laughing and grabbing the whip before anyone else could (she has circus training after all). I think we were both inspired by our British roots. We’ve been writing for an American audience for a while but we’re British women at heart who were there cheering on Bridget Jones and her big knickers when she finally got her man. We wanted to explore a British character to see what adventures she might get up to and as it turned out, there were many! 

How did your own travels influence writing Lara Craft’s extraordinary adventures? 
Well the special eggs in Bali were something we could write about easily and we won’t say why - you’ll have to read what Lara does with them to understand (ahem). But yes, the adventures we’ve had went into the book with a few embellishments here and there of course. The heat and absurdity of Dubai, the pompous and slightly awe-inspiring edge of LA and the holistic if egotistical Bali expat scene we have both experienced in Indonesia are all things we can relate to and lend to Lara for her journey. I’ve never met a crown prince with a waterslide but hey, there’s still time. 
What was your favorite scene to write? 
For me (Becky) it was probably the Christian cowboy scene, where Lara Craft is seducing the poor young cowboy on the kitchen table. OK, just saying that sounds ridiculous… and OK yes it is. But that had me laughing out loud. Most of it had us in stitches actually. I was on holiday with my mom at one point when I was reading Sarah’s last scenes and I was laughing so hard she actually asked me what was wrong! 

Sarah: My favourite scenes still make me laugh out loud just recalling them. The first is when Lara ends up filming a re-make of Twilight in LA and the scene at the end where she’s in Somalia and gets kidnapped and held for ransom along with two close protection bodyguards. Being Lara she doesn’t wait around for the guys to save her - she finds her own uniquely brilliant way out of the situation. Let us know what you think ;-) 
What would you like readers to take from your story? 
I don’t think we really had a goal except to entertain and make people laugh. It’s not a typical romance. We both write romance (Sarah writes YA as well as NA under the name Mila Gray and Becky writes NA fiction), but with this we wanted to get away from it and write something totally different and very British. We really wanted a British protagonist. We hope people fall in love with Lara! Get your whips ready!
The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft
Lara Craft Saga #1
Lola Salt
Publication date: October 7th 2014
Genres: Comedy, New Adult, Romance
From bestselling authors Becky Wicks (Before He Was Famous, Before He Was Gone) and Sarah Alderson (Hunting Lila, Fated, Come Back to Me) comes a new romance with a difference…

After losing her job and her boyfriend on the same day, Lara’s beginning to wonder if her life can possibly get any worse. Then along comes Jamie, a childhood friend, offering her a job delivering mysterious packages to random destinations around the world and suddenly things are looking up.

Lara packs her bags and sets off on an epic adventure, meeting billionaire Arabic Princes, rugged cowboys, a sparkling wannabe vampire, a love guru with sex on the brain and Angelina Jolie’s bodyguards along the way. But though trouble always seems to find Lara, it seems love is rather more elusive.

Pack your bags. The adventure’s about to begin!
About the Author

Lola Salt is the pen name for two bestselling authors: Sarah Alderson & Becky Wicks.

Becky has written several non-fiction travel diaries for Harper Collins; Burqualicious, Balilicious & Latinalicious, and the new adult Starstruck Series featuring Before He Was Famous, Before He Was Gone and Before He Was a Secret.

Sarah is better known for her Young Adult novels, particularly the critically acclaimed Hunting Lila series (published by Simon & Schuster), as well as the Fated series. She also wrote the new adult romance Come Back To Me under another pen name of Mila Gray.

The two authors met in Bali. Come visit us sometime and we’ll buy you a coconut.

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Ayanami Faerudo
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